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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm 99% sure there is a rabies infected cat in the area. I'm going to call animal control next time I see him, but I have a question about our dog possibly being infected/exposed...

My area has a lot of strays that come and go for some reason. Most stay for a week or two then you never see them again. This one cat has been hanging out underneath our front tree for a few weeks and I thought it was odd that he sleeps for days without moving. No one goes on that side of the yard so I honestly didn't think much about it. I saw him tonight as he was heading up to my back porch and he had a large string of drool hanging from his mouth and his eyes were kinda rolled back. When he saw me, he ran off down the street.

Here's the part that concerns me. I usually leave a little bit of cat food on my back step for the neighbors outdoor cat (I don't know for sure if its hers but shes named it and its always by her house and my house across the street, doesn't seem/act like a stray). I don't know if this rabies infected cat has eaten any food off the step. I was outside all day today except for 2 hours when there was no food out, and I didn't see this cat at all. My dog accidentally ate some of the food today when I got home and was distracted with my daughter, but I quickly got him away from it.

Can rabies be transferred from him eating the food if the infected cat was there at some point today? I'm like 90% sure he wasn't, but I don't to risk it. He didn't come into direct contact with the cat at all. My dog is 11 weeks old (had his vaccination for rabies) and obviously in the nipping stage, but he has bitten myself and my boyfriend, but I don't think he has gotten my daughter at all today. Should we be concerned about getting treated? He also played with a friend's dog earlier today, before we saw the cat. I don't know exactly how rabies is transferred or if either dog is at risk for being exposed to it.

I feel so dumb for having him get to the food :( I also won't be leaving any more food out. We're fairly new to the neighborhood so it was kind of a way to be friendly with the neighbors, but I'm going to have to talk to them about this obviously.

Thank you...and please go easy on me :(
 

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After my sister's dog killed a rabid groundhog he licked her on her hand or face, I forget which. She had to have the series of rabies shots "just in case" she had any open wounds on her skin when it happened (her dog had to have a booster shot). So yeah, I would "guess" that a rabid cat could leave traces of his saliva on food that's then consumed by another animal.

IMHO you shouldn't mess around with that cat ... notify your A/C immediately about your suspicions that the cat is rabid (even if you don't see it around).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, I'll call in the morning then and notify animal control about it instead of waiting until I see him again.

Luckily our dog has a vet appointment tomorrow anyway so I'll talk to them about it. I'll also contact my friend to let her know in case she wants to take her dog in for a booster. I assume they'll want to give all 3 of us rabies shots just in case, since I didn't think about licking as a way to transfer it.
 

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A clinical rabid animal would not be eating. They drool so heavily because they can not swallow.

Call animal control and have them come catch the cat and send it in for testing. Poor thing :(

Exposure is considered with a bite leading to saliva contact. Yes theoretically if your pup ingested some saliva and had a cut in it's mouth it could of been exposed. But its very unlikely in this case.

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It might not be rabies at all. It could be distemper or the cat was having a seizure.
 

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*Generally* rabies is transferred through a bite not just sharing food. Your dog would probably have to have a sore or open wound in his mouth in order to contract it in that manner. I would heir on the cautious side just incase since you are already going to the vet. Like someone said previously if the cat had rabies it cannot eat because its throat is swollen hence the "foaming" of the mouth. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! Makes sense that the cat wouldn't be able to eat if it was already that infected. I've never actually seen the cat eat anything - it just sleeps. This was the first time I saw it move and it had every classic sign of rabies.

I'll let you all know what the vet says and what animal control says.
 

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This site has excellent information on rabies, I just picked out a little to share... it has a lot of information about rabies.
CDC - Rabies

Some of the information given says,
"Exposure to the Virus
People usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.
Scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes contaminated with saliva or other potentially infectious material (such as brain tissue) from a rabid animal constitute non-bite exposures. Occasionally reports of non-bite exposure are such that postexposure prophylaxis is given."

"The acute period of disease typically ends after 2 to 10 days. Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.
Disease prevention includes administration of both passive antibody, through an injection of human immune globulin and a round of injections with rabies vaccine.
Once a person begins to exhibit signs of the disease, survival is rare. To date less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported and only two have not had a history of pre- or postexposure prophylaxis."

"The Virus Reaches the Brain
Late in the disease, after the virus has reached the brain and multiplied there to cause an inflammation of the brain, it moves from the brain to the salivary glands and saliva.
Also at this time, after the virus has multiplied in the brain, almost all animals begin to show the first signs of rabies. Most of these signs are obvious to even an untrained observer, but within a short period of time, usually within 3 to 5 days, the virus has caused enough damage to the brain that the animal begins to show unmistakable signs of rabies."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you! I'm going to read through that site so I know for the future.

We saw the vet tonight and she basically said what was written above - its super rare to be infected from just saliva and it would have to be fresh. He would have to come in contact directly with the animal or else the air would pretty much kill the infection. She said it could be multiple things other than rabies but to steer clear of the cat and get in touch with animal control to take it away. She also said if the cat is still around and not dead after 10 days, then its most likely not rabies but the cat is still suffering so to try and get it picked up by someone.

We saw the cat by the house tonight after the vet and tried to call animal control. We left a message but haven't heard back. The cat is gone but it looked worse today than yesterday. The humane society was closed as well so if I can't get a hold of animal control, I'll call them tomorrow and see what they suggest.

Thank you for all of your help! I'll update when we get in touch with animal control and what they do.
 
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